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March Madness: West Regional Semifinals

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March Madness: West Regional Semifinals

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The March Madness Regional Semifinals held two games Mar. 28 in Anaheim. The first seed, Gonzaga Bulldogs, faced the fourth seed, Florida State Seminoles, to start the night, followed by second seed Michigan Wolverines against third seed Texas Tech Red Raiders.

Coming in as the first seed, the Bulldogs came into the game with 32-3 record. Florida State junior Trent Forrest led the scoring for both teams with 20 points, going 8-11 from the field and 4-6 from the free throw line. The Seminoles struggled shooting early, going 10-30 from the field and 2-11 from the three point line. Senior PJ Savoy hit 2 of the 3 made out of 20 attempted three pointers on the night. Florida’s bench kept the game closer with 18 points to beat the Bulldogs 5 bench points.

“[We] came out a bit flat, [the] energy was a bit low,” Florida State sophomore Mifondu Kabengele said. “But we fought really hard in the second half, Gonzaga played a good second half, they just withstood our depth, they player really well and knocked down shots, they got offensive rebounds. Just an accumulation of a lot of things led to our failure today.”

Gonzaga dominated the score sheet, with four players in double figure points (junior Brandon Clarke with 15 points, junior Rui Hachimura with 17 points, senior Josh Perkins with 14 points and sophomore Zach Norvell Jr. with 14 points). Clarke also topped off the game with a team leading 12 rebounds and 5 blocks. The game finished 72-58, moving Gonzaga on to the Elite 8.

“We are a better team than last year,” Hachimura said. “We all can score from any position. Tonight we had a lot of double digits (players) and we are a better defensive team. We are more confident and have more togetherness.”

On the other side of the Regional Semifinals, Michigan fell to Texas Tech, 63-44. Michigan struggled from the three point line going 1-19, while Texas Tech went 31.6 percent and 6-19. Freshman Ignas Brazdeikis led the Wolverine scoring with 17 points, but the Texas Tech defense held the team to only 44 for the game.

“It’s very challenging,” Michigan junior Jon Teske said. “How well they guard the ball, how they rebound, they force tough twos as well. Offensively for us, we have to lock in and not turn the ball over and waste possessions. We have to get good shots and share the ball and I think we’ll be okay.”

As a team, the Red Raiders went 43.6 percent from the field to lead them to a 63 point win. Sophomore Davide Moretti had 15 points and went 3-4 from the three point line. With a game high 22 points, sophomore Jarrett Culver shooting 47.4 percent and going 4-4 from the free throw line.

“I want to credit the coaches for [my shot],” Culver said. “When I first got to Tech, we got to work since day one. We changed some things in my shot and we always continue the improvement on what I can do better. I have a love for the game and always want to get better.”

On Mar. 30, Texas Tech and Gonzaga face off for a spot in the Final Four. Texas Tech is hoping to pull off their second upset in a row, while Gonzaga hopes to further their March run after falling short last season in the Sweet 16.

“This is exactly where I wanted be, and I think everybody else in the room would say the same,” Gonzaga senior Geno Crandall said. “This is why you sign with the school and put the jersey on: playing big games like this and playing late in March.”

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About the Writer
Kristen Young, Sports Editor

Kristen Young is a junior at Carlsbad High School and this is her second year in journalism and first for the online publication. She loves playing basketball...

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